Dress up with the Longhorn Express
A bespoke Western Star hauls R.M.’s shop
AUSTRALIANS, doff your Akubras out of respect for this awesome rig. Western Star has built a custom Outbackthemed prime mover for Australian clothing retailer R.M. Williams.
Famous for premium moleskin pants and leather boots that are popular among country folk and city slickers alike, RMs will use the rig to pull its impressive mobile store called the Longhorn Express.
This unique shop, built with a wooden floor and laid out like an Australian homestead, travels around the country, often visiting towns too small for a bricks-and-mortar store.
It’s our way of getting back to the bush,’’ explains R.M. Williams CEO Hamish Turner.
The first Longhorn Express hit the road in 2001 and has done 300,000km.
The two Western Star rigs that towed the unique trailer have been smart-looking machines, but the retailer and truck maker have gone further this time with an eye-catching truck with plenty of stainless steel and a superb paint job.
The range-topping 4864 FXB has just been updated but retains its classic American design and spacious cabin.
Now able to run the latest ADR80/03 emission-compliant engines, the FXB, along with other Western Star models, has been tweaked to help cooling.
The cabin is still functional and spacious but has been raised to assist airflow to the new engines.
Western Star fits the FXB with a Cummins engine or the all-new Detroit Diesel DD15, which finally replaces the ancient Series 60 engine.
That is a big advantage because fellow American brand Freightliner is the only other truck maker in Australia with the new 15.0-litre Detroit Diesel and its DD13 sibling.
In 2000, Detroit Diesel was gobbled up by Daimler.
It immediately invested more than $1 billion in an engine program that resulted in the newDDpowerplants.
Rather than try to sell engines to other makers, as had been the case in the past, Daimler decided to fit Detroit Diesel engines only in makes that it owns.
The dual overhead cam DD15 propelling the Williams rig produces a handy 343kW (560hp) and is linked to an 18-speed Eaton RoadRanger manual transmission. Detroit Diesel uses the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system with AdBlue fluid in the US where stricter emission rules have been introduced, but so far it is not doing so in Australia.
Australian engines have a cool exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and a special particulate oxidisation catalyst.
The Williams truck has a 40-inch Stratosphere sleeper cab decked out with woodgrain, extra insulation and a powerful evaporative cabin cooling system.
Blaze Industries furnished the stainless steel components including the stunning old- school air cleaners and exhaust stacks, while Narva bolted on four big driving lights for ultimate night hauling in the bush. Adding to the look are sparkling 22.5-inch 10-stud Alcoa rims. A Wabco anti-lock disc braking system is there for added safety.
It would be a spectacular truck decked out in white but undoubtedly the stunning paint job will attract attention wherever this big rig goes.
Western Star simply describes it as a beautifully finished canvas.
PJ’s Custom Spray Painting did the bold airbrushing work which is a tribute to Reginald Murray Williams, who founded the company nearly 80 years ago.
‘‘ The guys at PJ’s never met R.M. but I can tell you the likeness is incredible,’’ Turner says. ‘‘ Their craft, their art is amazing.’’
There are also several additional bush scenes of a cattle stockyard, other bush settings, a flowing Australian flag as well as some great small touches like the metal straps around the fuel tanks painted to look like leather belts.
Western Star Australia marketing manager Pat Cook says the truck has been well received. ‘‘ R.M. Williams is thrilled . . . and the public reaction has been incredible.’’
Just fancy: The Williams rig; (below, from left) the founder; classic RMs boots; and the rig’s stunning artwork